Chapter

General Epilogue

John M. Anderson

in The Substance of Language Volume III

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608331
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732119 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608331.003.0010
  General Epilogue

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The view of language that emerges from this trilogy is of a system of representation and re-representation, where each type of representation grammaticalizes some extralinguistic mental domain – that is, a system that is radically non-autonomous. Grammaticalization of a particular mental substance defines each of the two planes of phonology and syntax and, within each plane, the re-representations that cumulatively build linguistic structure. The lexicon, including morphology, does not grammaticalize a distinct substance but articulates the signs that unite basic syntactic and phonological categorizations. On such a view, a language is a cultural product whose creativity resides in the imagination that perceives analogies such as figurative extensions and whose usage is associated with conventionalizations. Universal properties of language reflect application of what is common in our conceptual apparatus. Such a view of language, implicit in much earlier work, has been obscured by over-exuberant assumptions of autonomy, the theoretical disease of twentieth century linguistics.

Keywords: representation; substance; modularity; signs; culture; creativity; conventionalization; universality; autonomy

Chapter.  3582 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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